Homemade 'Greek' Pizza {recipe}


I love pizza.  But I do get bored with the plain ol' 'pepperoni and sausage' or whatever.  When I found a decent pizza dough to try out, I knew exactly what kind of pizza I wanted to make -- Greek!  Artichokes and feta cheese... mmmm.  I have quite a few of homemade pizza ideas I want to try, so we may just start having "Homemade Pizza Friday's"... sounds like a good tradition to me!  ;)

I highly recommend trying this one out.  Does anyone else like to make their own pizza at home?  What kind of pizza do you like to make?

Homemade 'Greek' Pizza
recipe adapted from here and here
  • Olive Oil Dough
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves removed and peeled
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill (you can liberally sprinkle on some dried dill, if that's all you have)
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 small can of artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • a hand full of cherry tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 roasted red pepper, cute into slices
  • 3/4 to 1 cup of feta cheese

Prepare your pizza dough per instructions.   'Pre-roast' your garlic cloves (tossed in some olive oil) for about 15 minutes @ 375 F. I also took this time to squeeze out the moisture in the artichokes with a paper towel.

After your garlic cloves are done 'pre-roasting', bump up your oven temperature to 425 F.

Once your dough is prepared and ready, roll into your desired shape and brush with olive oil.  Pre-cook your dough for 3-5 minutes.

Then, top with some fresh (or dried) dill, then layer on mozzarella cheese, artichoke hearts, red onion, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, and feta. Scatter the semi-roasted garlic cloves over top.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is golden and crust is lightly browned.  Top with a handful of fresh dill before serving.  ENJOY.  :)

(note: some Greek 'kalamata' olives.. or some different herbs or spices might be good on this... get creative!)

Osan Air Show 2011...


The Air Show was held this weekend.. I'm seriously like a little kid when it comes to air shows.. I'm fascinated with anything that flies.  I know most people associated with the military are 'jet noised-out'.. and I really don't pay much attention when they fly on a daily basis.. but I just really enjoy air shows.  Although, when we move to Little Rock, it's going to be a little weird not seeing/hearing the jets fly on a daily basis.

It was a bit cloudy/chilly out on Saturday... but it wasn't crowded, which was good.  It was a nice family outing.. and it was Clara's first air show.  ;)

Just hangin' out in the helicopter.  ;)

Wearing daddy's ear protection for the jet noise!  Such a cutie.

I'd say they worked pretty well -- she slept right through it!  (LOVING her chubby cheeks here... I just want to kiss kiss kiss them!)

I'd say it was a nice family day full of love, baby giggles, and fried snickers (yumm).

We attempted to walk around the air show again on Sunday.. it was beautiful outside.  But after about 5 minutes, I was ready to head out... there was 10x more people there that day.. and it was hot outside.  No thanks.  We went home instead.. Clara and I took a nap while daddy watched his 'shows' (Sons of Anarchy & Top Shot;)

Olive Oil Dough {recipe}


I have been wanting to make my own pizza for a while now -- homemade dough and all.  But I really had no idea where to begin.. there are so many recipes for pizza dough out there.  I came across this recipe via Pinterest (seriously, love that website), and it sounded simple.  And simple is what I like, as long as it tastes good.  ;) 

Let me just say, this recipe is SUPER simple.  I don't think it's exclusively a pizza dough.. but it sure does make a good crust.  I halved this recipe and it was enough for one pizza.  In the future I may experiment with other dough recipes, but for now this is my go-to pizza dough recipe.. for all my homemade pizza needs.  ;)

I will post later about what kind of pizza we had.. it was absolutely delicious!!

Olive Oil Dough
recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
  • 2 3/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon granulated yeast (2 packets)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, or in a large (5 quart) bowl working with a wooden spoon, mix the yeast, salt, sugar, and olive oil with the lukewarm water.

    Mix in the flour without kneading. If you are not using a stand mixer, try wetting your hands a little bit to incorporate the flour better.

    Transfer dough to large (5 quart) bowl or lidded food container. Cover (not airtight, I just drape a kitchen towel over the bowl), and allow to rest at room temperature until dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 - 2 1/2 hours.

    The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 12 days.

    If using for pizza, I usually pile on my toppings and bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until slightly golden.

    Just One of Many..


    It has been cooling off here a little bit.. it was about 30 F when I woke up this morning.. brrr!  The afternoons warm up quite a bit, though.  Enough for just a light sweater.  :)  I'm praying fall lasts for a little while longer because one of my favorite things to do is take Clara on a daily walk.  And my oh my we are just loving these autumn colors!

    My slobbery baby loves our daily walks!  ;)

    We usually just take a stroll around the base because my husband takes the car to work most days.. a lot of times I think the base is just plain and boring, because it really can be.  But then I stop and really take a good look around me... and I see how beautiful it can be.

    There are many, many things I love about fall.. and one of those things are the changing colors.  There are quite a few trees outside of our apartment that have turned gorgeous colors of red, orange, and yellow.  But there's one tree in particular.. it's big, and golden, and it makes me happy.  I love it when the little things can put a smile on my face...

    I also love the crunch of the leaves on the ground as your walk through them.. even the smell of the leaves..

    ... anyone else?

    I'm so thankful I live in a place where I can experience these beautiful seasonal changes.. I think I would be pretty sad if I didn't.

    Pumpkin Poppers {recipe}


    I feel like these past few weeks have just flown by.  I can't believe we're at the end of October already.  Life has felt busy lately.. and Clara has just started sleeping 8-9 hours at night before getting up to eat (thank you, Jesus).. but even so, I've still been so tired.  No idea why.  I have bumped up Clara's feedings from 3.5 oz to 5 oz, and she has started eating some rice cereal at night before bed.  She's getting so big!  And learning to eat from the spoon really well.  I think she enjoys it -- and she keeps trying to grab the spoon out of my hand (which she succeeded in last night and then rice cereal went all over the couch).  She really is such a joy.  :)

    Anyway, I made these Pumpkin Poppers the other day because my mom mentioned she made them and how good they were.  I had some leftover pumpkin in the fridge that I needed to use up, so I decided to try them.  The recipes calls for 3/4 cup of pumpkin.. and what do you know.. I had exactly 3/4 cup.  It was definitely meant to be.  ;)

    They are kind of like little pumpkin donut holes.  They're addictive little things... delicious any time of the day.. but go really good with coffee in the morning.  Which is how I'm enjoying my morning today. 

    Pumpkin Poppers
    recipe from Domestically Speaking

    • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
    • 1/2 tsp. allspice
    • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
    • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 3/4 cup pumpkin
    • 1/2 cup milk

    For Coating
    • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • 2 tbsp. cinnamon

    Preheat oven to 350 F and spray mini muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.

    Combine flour, baking powder ,salt, and spices in a bowl and whisk until combine.

    In another bowl, mix oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin, and milk.  Pour in flour mixture and mix until just combined.  Fill mini muffin tins until almost full and bake 10-12 minutes. 

    Melt butter in small bowl.  Mix sugar and cinnamon in a separate small bowl.  After poppers cool for a few minutes, LIGHTLY coat them in butter (I prefer to brush on the butter) and roll them in the sugar mixture.  Enjoy.  :)

    Making Our Household a Little More 'Green' ...


    I started doing research on making my own household cleaners while I was pregnant.  I was very paranoid and OCD about everything.  The house had to be clean at all times.  I'm pretty sure I vacuumed every day.  I did not like random things just laying around (i.e. my dear husband's things;).  Ok, well I'm a lot more lenient about that stuff now (baby toys EVERYWHERE.. I wouldn't have it any other way:).  I used store bought household cleaners a lot... but hated the toxic smell.  That really couldn't have been 'good' for me.  I always felt like I needed to air out the house after I was done cleaning.  Lysol.  Gag.  Comet.  Gag.  I sure as heck didn't want to be breathing that stuff.. and I definitely don't want my baby girl breathing that in either.

    So I looked on tons upon tons of websites and tried out different recipes for homemade cleaners.. did you know you can make just about anything yourself?  Including laundry detergent -- although I haven't gone that far because I really like the detergent I use.  I still have a boat load of Seventh Generation laundry detergent that I bought before Clara was born (yes, I haven't had to buy laundry detergent in over 4 months.. it was on sale & I had coupons, don't judge).  All these recipes that I have listed is what I use in our home and I love them and they work wonderfully.  You can make just about any cleaner yourself -- check out the sources at the bottom for a ton more of useful information.

    Not only is this stuff more safe and more 'green'.. it cheap!  I'm always up for saving money.  Does anyone else make their own cleaners??

    Picture Source

     Glass/Window Cleaner
    • 1 cup water
    • 1/4 cup vinegar
    • 3-4 drops of Dawn dish soap

     Mix all ingredients in an empty spray bottle.  I love this -- works great, and doesn't leave streaks.  I will never use a store-bought glass cleaner again.

    Surface Spray (Homemade '409')
    • 2 tbsp. vinegar
    • 1 tsp. borax
    • 1/8 cup Dawn dish soap
    • 1 cup hot water

      Pour vinegar, borax, and hot water, and Dawn dish soap in spray bottle.  Then fill spray bottle the rest of the way with cool water.  Don't shake, just swish from side to side a little bit to mix.  (do not use things containing vinegar on granite countertops/surfaces) 

      All-Purpose Cleaner/Grease Cutter
      • 2 cups warm water
      • 1/4 cup Castile Soap (like Dr. Brommers)
      • 10 drops Tea Tree Oil

      Mix together in a spray bottle and spray on surface, let sit for a few seconds then wipe off with a damp cloth. 

      Toilet Bowl Cleaner
      • 1 cup Borax
      • 1/4 cup vinegar

      Let sit for a few minutes.  Scrub with toilet bowl brush.

      Oven Cleaner
      • Dampen with water
      • Sprinkle generously with baking soda

      Leave for 20 minutes, scrub until clean.

      Microwave Cleaner
      • 1/2 cup vinegar
      • 2 cup water

      Combine in a bowl and microwave on high for 3-4 minutes, remove bowl and wipe down inside of microwave.

      Tub Scrub
      • 1 cup baking soda
      • 1 tsp. liquid soap
      • 10 drops Tea Tree Oil (or Peppermint or Eucalyptus)

      Add enough water to form a paste, use it with a brush/sponge to scour bathtub surfaces.

       Air Freshener 
      • 2 parts water
      • 1 part rubbing alcohol
      • 5 drop essential oil of your choice

      Mix in spray bottle, do not spray on delicates.  If you need to put more than 5 drops of essential oil in, then do so.

      • Just use a microfiber cloth.

      A few more tidbits of information for you --
      • There are a few essential oils that have antimicrobial properties.. such as eucalyptus, tea tree oil, and peppermint.  Good for use in homemade cleaners.
      • Use crocheted or knitted dish cloths that you can wash and reuse instead of sponges/dish cloths that are meant to be thrown away.
      • A lot of store-bought air fresheners contain phthalates.. not good for you, your children, or pets!

      Sources:   Martha Stewart, Young House Love, Maillardville Manor, HealthyChild.org, GreenerChoices.org (Consumer Reports), Farmers Almanac

        An Afternoon Outing


        Yesterday we decided to take advantage of the beautiful fall weather and go for a little family hike.  My husband has been so busy this past week with homework (and will be for the next month or so).. it was nice to have some time together this weekend.  :)  I'm really enjoying this cooler, fall weather!

        There were some neat little look-outs along the way where we could see the city.  And there were also 'work-out' stations along the trail.. which I think is a little odd.  It was enough work for me to climb up those hills.. I'm definitely not going to climb them and then work-out.  ;)

        I think Clara really enjoyed the hike and change of scenery.. and almost every Korean we passed had to stop and 'ooh & ahh' over her.  And she would smile for them like a good little girl.. she likes the attention.  ;)

        I think we wore the little princess out, though.. all that fresh air (this mommy was a little worn out too.. carrying an extra 12 pounds up those hills wasn't easy.. or maybe I'm just weak).

        Frosted Pumpkin Cookies {recipe}


        I am seriously loving this time of year.  Boots, leaves changing color, baking... I seriously need to find more mouths to feed because my list of things I want to bake it a mile long and growing.. but the mouths I have to feed are few!  (Though, I usually send Coleman to work with goodies for the guys.)  

        But ah, pumpkin cookies... While Clara and I were visiting family in the states in September, my Aunt brought these when she came to visit.  I probably could have ate the whole batch by myself, but I figured that would've been a little rude.  These cookies are moist and delicious.. and my favorite part is the frosting.  I love the fact that the frosting is not cream cheese frosting.. yet it compliments the cookie very well.
        If you like pumpkin, I highly suggest you try this cookie.  This recipe is too good to not share.  It's very easy to make and it's absolutely delicious (my favorite pumpkin cookie, BY FAR, so thanks to my Aunt for a great recipe!).

        Frosted Pumpkin Cookies
        recipe from my Aunt :)

        • 2 cup flour
        • 1 tsp. baking powder
        • 1 tsp. baking soda
        • 1/2 tsp. salt
        • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
        • 1/2 cup shortening (or butter)
        • 1 cup brown sugar
        • 1 cup canned pumpkin
        • 1 large egg
        • 1 tsp. vanilla
        Preheat to 350 F.

        Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.  Set aside.  In another large bowl, combine shortening (or butter) and brown sugar and beat until fluffy, using an electric mixer.  Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla and mix until well combined.  Add half of the dry ingredients, mix, then add the other half and mix again, being careful not to overmix.

        Scoop rounded tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.  Bake 11-14 minutes, or until lightly browned at edges.  Halfway through baking, rotate baking sheets top to bottom & front to back. When done, cool cookies on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.

        Frosting (NOTE: half of this recipe would be enough for 1 batch of cookies)
        • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
        • 1/4 cup maple syrup
        • 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
        • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
        • 1 tsp. vanilla
        • 4 cups (1 pound) powdered sugar

          Combine butter and maple syrup using an electric mixer and mix until smooth.  Add pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla.  Mix well.  Add powdered sugar and beat until fluffy.  Spread icing on cooled cookies.

          STORAGE:  Refrigerate cookies in airtight container. Bring to room temperature for full flavor (I'm impatient and can never wait that long.. they still taste good!)

          Still Adjusting..


          So Clara and I have been back in Korea for about a week now, and although her jet-lag is much better.. I think it's still going to take about another week until she's back to 'normal'.

          She's such a trooper, and a good little world traveler, though.  :)  On the first plane ride from Illinois to Detroit, she slept the whole time (yeah!).. and the plane ride from Detroit to Seoul was a little better than the first time because it wasn't a full flight so I got to bring her car seat on the plane.. which made this momma's life a ton easier (it's a little hard to go to the bathroom while holding a wiggly infant, not gonna lie).  She didn't cry too much, and she cuddled and watched Finding Nemo with me.  :)  I was praying for no poopy diapers on the plane.. but of course, an hour into the flight (and while they're serving me my meal) she decided to stink up the whole back end of the plane.  And then she smiled at me.  I can't help but just love her to pieces.  ;)

          A couple days after we got back she had her 4 month check-up (already!!!!).. she's a peanut, that's for sure!  She's 12 lbs, and as healthy (and happy) as can be.  The Dr. said in a couple weeks I can try giving her some rice cereal -- and hopefully that will keep her satisfied longer because right I swear she is constantly eating.

          And on another note, she is 'talking' and laughing up a storm these days.. and rolled over from her back to her tummy for the first time the other day.  :)  She's getting so big.. I can't wait until we're close to family again.  The countdown has begun... 6 more months!

          There's that sweet, sleepy face that I love.  :)

          Double Decker Confetti Brownies {recipe}


          I am wiped out.  My flight back home to Korea was good and uneventful (just the way I like it).. but it was also tiring.  Sorry for the lack of posts, but dealing with some major jet-lag with my baby girl.. as well as myself.. and trying to get everything unpacked (I went to the states with one suitcase and came back with three).. spending time with my husband, and trying to get back into a 'routine'.. well, that's pretty much eating up a lot of my time.  So right now it's 4am and baby girl is wide-eyed and bushy-tailed.. me, not so much.. but I thought I'd try to get this post up.  This recipe is too good not to share. 

          These brownies are delicious and fun if you're looking to make something a tad different.  :)  I got this recipe from my Momma... and I made them for a 'contest' at church while I was visiting my parents back home (oh.. and these brownies won;).  Of course all the brownies there were yummy.. I really don't think there's such a thing as a bad brownie.  But these are also pretty to look at, too.  ;)

          Double Decker Confetti Brownies
          recipe from my Momma :)

          • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
          • 1 cup white sugar
          • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
          • 3 large eggs
          • 1 tsp. vanilla
          • 2 1/2 cups flour, divided
          • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
          • 1/2 tsp salt
          • 1/3 cup cocoa
          • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
          • 1 cup M&M's, divided (mini or regular)

          Preheat oven to 350 F.  Lightly grease 13x9 baking pan; set aside.

          In a large bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter and sugars until light & fluffy;  beat in eggs and vanilla.  Then, in a medium bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups flour, baking powder and salt;  blend into creamed mixture. Divide batter in half.

          Blend together cocoa and melted butter; stir into one half of the dough.  Then, spread cocoa dough evenly into baking pan.  Stir remaining 1/4 cup flour and 1/2 cup M&M's into remaining dough; spread evenly over cocoa dough.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup M&M's.

          Bake 25 to 30 min. or until edges start to pull away from sides of pan.  Cool completely before cutting.